From The Pantagraph:
The consolidation of downstate library systems into the Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS) and RAILS happened at the same time a downward trend in funding and staffing continued. The cuts began when the huge IHLS — with more than 400 libraries, covering all of southern Illinois — was still four separate entities. During the 2001 fiscal year, the four systems collectively had capital grants of $4.8 million, according to figures provided by IHLS Executive Director Leslie Bednar.
The fiscal 2012 budget, the first for the combined system, reflects the lowest grant level the system has seen in the past 10 years, $3.3 million.
“The cash flow, or lack of it, is what really led (to consolidation) — that and this fear that more services would get cut at the state level,” Bednar said. “It was getting a little dicey for some.”
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